The Botulism warning that went out about two companies selling canned soap at California farmers markets really only amounts to a technical foul not dangerous canning practices. That’s the push-back argument being made by Malibu-based One Gun Ranch and Santa Barbara-based Organic Soup Kitchen four days after the California Department of Health warned the public about products from the two businesses. One Gun Ranch’s Jennifer Hozer told Food Safety News “there are no incidents or indications that any of our food products are contaminated, whatsoever.”   She said the Health Department’s public health warning and subsequent mandatory recall of the canned products was over licensing requirements by local health agencies required by state regulations. “It was not a result of contaminated food or improper preparation of our jarred food products,” Hozer said.   She said One Gun products are prepared in commercial kitchens, which “adhere to the highest standards of operation and regulation required by CDHP.” In addition to Hozer calling the botulism scare “a paperwork issue,” Organic Soup Kitchen’s founder Anthony Carroccio told the LA Weekly his company has fed 50,000 homeless and low-income people in the last three years “without incident.” For its part, CDHP said no illnesses were associated with the soup recall.   California is known for tough enforcement of cannery regulations snuffed out its past incidents of killer botulism, now a couple generations in its past. CDHP has worked with both One Gun and Organic Soup to make sure all the suspected products were removed from sale.  The entire list can be found in Food Safety News original story on the recall. Botulism is a potentially deadly paralytic illness that occurs when the Clostridium botulinum bacteria to attack the nervous system release toxins.   Without adequate medical treatment, botulism can cause death in a fairly short time. CDHP said the soups sold the two companies had the potential for the formulation of botulism if the processes were not sufficient to deactivate the toxin.   The state wants the two companies to obtain cannery licenses. Hozer says it is unfortunate “scare tactics” were used in the regulation of the products.   John Edwards, who operates 20 farmers markets in Los Angles, said he understand erring on the side of caution, but just wishes CDHP would explain things better.

  • Mindy

    The farmers market salesman is right to say if the food hasn’t killed a bunch of people it must be pretty safe and there is no need to produce it safely to allay silly fears like botulism and stuff. In fact, if the soup doesn’t kill everyone who eats it there is no reason to fear it — you might be the one who survives, you never know.

  • Mae Johnson

    It’s a company’s responsibility to learn the laws about food safety and food manufacturing BEFORE they put a product on the market. Those two companies whining about “the government didn’t tell us about this” doesn’t hold water. And their claim about “scare tactics” is absolutely ridiculous. Low acid canned foods, if not impeccably processed, are a real risk for botulism. Which kills people.

  • Abbot

    Huh, do the rules not apply to farmers market food? What makes these guys think they can go without licenses or permits just because they sell at a carnival? They seem to have no concern whatsoever for the safety of their customers. This is one very good reason not to purchase food for your family at farmers markets! If you survive the bout of botulism just try going back and demanding a refund. Whadda ya wanna bet you get the same litany of lame excuses as we are reading right here. Deny, deny, deny; distract; hide; shift the blame, blame, blame…

  • Jon

    As we all know — Botulism doesn’t self-select for Farmers Markets. But trollish anti-Farmers Market finger-pointers sure do…

  • The State of California requires that all low acid foods have their process established by a process authority and that this process be reviewed and approved by the state. In addition all production runs are made under the state’s inspection and records are reviewed by the state. This is a little more than a “paperwork issue”.

  • Candice

    This was a great catch by CDHP. They are to be commended for nailing this elusive little cash-only under-the-radar operation. Imagine how much unsafe product these shady operators have peddled and how much untraceable cash money they’ve enjoyed taking in. Enough to make them cocky enough to push back against common sense enforcement. This is the tip of the iceberg in the dark world of direct marketing.